Shakespeare & Company's ROMEO AND JULIET to Run 7/17-8/23 at The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home
Shakespeare & Company's Northeast Regional Tour of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Jonathan Croy, returns home to Lenox settling in for special limited engagement at The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home. After playing to tens of thousands of students this winter and spring, the Company's non-union schools tour, the Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare, will perform their unique six-actor, 90-minute version of William Shakespeare's timeless tale of star-crossed lovers outdoors at 2 Plunkett Street-the address where the landmark theatre company was founded in 1978. Now in its 34th year, the Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare has proven to be one of the Education Program's most successful and popular programs, reaching over 25,000 students every year.
Performances run July 17 through August 23 outdoors on The Dell at The Mount, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA. Please feel free to bring your own blanket, lawn chairs, and picnic baskets!
"The young actors in the Northeast Tour of Shakespeare brought the grounds to life last season with their performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream" says Susan Wissler, Executive Director of The Mount. "We look forward to welcoming them back for another successful and fun-filled summer with many more collaborations in the future."
Romeo and Juliet features a cast of only six Shakespeare & Company Education Artists, who spent their winter and spring traveling to approximately 60 schools throughout the Northeast, performing the 90-minute non-union schools production. Directed by longtime Company member Jonathan Croy (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, The 39 Steps, Richard III, The Real Inspector Hound), Romeo and Juliet is a 'bare-Bard' style production that the Company devised over three decades ago, which typically features 6-13 actors playing multiple roles in a pared-down, incisive and fast paced production with minimal sets and costume elements. The emphasis of Romeo and Juliet and the Company's education work with students is on the power of language, pleasure in playing, and the relationship that exists between the actors and the audience.
"Over the past three decades, I have had several opportunities to visit this play, either as an actor or director," says Croy. "It's no mystery that Romeo and Juliet has continued to be so popular over the years. The tragic elements of the play still move us, the poetry is undeniably powerful, the fights are exciting, and even the humor still touches our senses. But more than that, Shakespeare has given us a rich landscape of the human condition-the relationships between families, the power of friendship, the agony and ecstasy of love, the consequences of impulsive acts, the emergence of self-image-and has done so with such clarity that all of these elements are really familiar to us. It's a four hundred and twenty-two-year-old modern play."
"I keep thinking about identity," adds Croy. "Among the points Shakespeare was making in this play was that we craft our perceptions of each other from shallow pieces; from assumptions that we make based on family, economic status, race, religion, gender, age-on where we live or who we befriend. This play is loaded with thoughts about how to look past the labels we put on each other and instead measure the actuality of them. Add to that the particular circumstances of this production-our six-actor touring model, which asks each actor to play multiple roles and draw on different aspects of their personalities-crossing age, family and even gender boundaries constantly. I find that this production, at its heart, is about determining the actual substance of identity...the truest place in each of us that lies at the intersection of each of our facets."
"We are grateful to The Mount for their efforts in making our second-consecutive collaboration with them so seamless and enjoyable," says Artistic Director Tony Simotes. "I am also very proud of Jon's beautiful and powerful production of Romeo and Juliet-every element plays just the right chord from his terrific cast, the precision staging, to the clarity of the text. The heart of the Company's aesthetics, mission and values were developed and took root in those early days at The Mount. We wanted to create a Company that performs as the Elizabethans did-in love with poetry, language, physical prowess and the mysteries of the universe. And we did just that on the grounds of novelist Edith Wharton's beautiful turn-of-the-century estate. I think this production of Romeo and Juliet will reverberate not only throughout the woods surrounding The Dell, but in our hearts for years to come."
Now in its 37th performance season and one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country, Shakespeare & Company was founded by Tina Packer, who today is still a major presence within the Company (her Julius Caesar runs in the Bernstein Theatre through August 30th, while Simotes' A Midsummer Night's Dream runs in the Playhouse, also through August 30.) In 2000, the Company purchased its current 33-acre home at 70 Kemble Street, one mile from the Mount, where it continues to adhere to its mission, values and forward moving vision.
TICKETS: Pricing for adults is $20 while student/child admission is $10. To view a complete schedule, receive a brochure, or inquire about discounts, please call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visit www.Shakespeare.org. GROUPS: For customized group visits-which may include artist talkbacks, tours, parties and catered events-contact the Group Sales office at (413) 637-1199, ext. 132. Please note tickets CANNOT be purchased through The Mount's ticketing office-they can only be purchased through S&Co.'s box office. However, walks-ups are welcome.
TOURS OF THE MOUNT, EDITH WHARTON'S HOME: For general inquires and tours visit: www.edithwharton.org or call (413) 551-5111.
Photo by Alissa Mesibov